Michal2: Emma's Natural Delivery
Friday, March 12, 2010 5:27 PM
"I was very worried throughout the entire pregnancy that it would be too much for me to handle and I would end up begging for drugs…"
My contractions started after I went to bed on Super Bowl Sunday. They were about 5 minutes apart until around 4 a.m., when they stopped. I went about the next day as usual and, from time to time, I would have a contraction. Later that evening, when I finally sat down, I started timing them--they were 4 minutes apart and 40 seconds long.
It had been snowing all day and I knew the roads were going to get bad, so I called my midwife to ask when I should go in. My plan was to labor at home for as long as possible, but I didn’t want to risk going in a ditch! She told me to come in if I couldn’t sleep through the contractions. But I didn’t even bother to lie down because I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep. After we got the car packed up we took off for the hospital. I’m not sure how long it took us to get there because I was busy concentrating on timing my contractions on my iTouch. I know we had to drive 45 miles per hour, though, because of the black ice and snow.
We arrived at the hospital seven minutes before midnight on the 8th -- the 9th was my due date. They got me settled into a room and the plan was to keep me monitored for an hour or so to see if I made any progress. If I did make progress, they would go ahead and admit me. They checked me and I was dilated to 3 cm. I had been at 1 to 2 cm at the last couple of checks with my midwife. The contractions were still fairly mild at this point and I really didn’t even have to breathe through them yet.
My birth plan was to go without an epidural. I had epidurals with my two other births and after doing a lot of reading and research, I decided I wanted to go natural this time. I really didn’t even want to have an IV, but my nurse said that the baby’s heart rate was a little flat, so she thought I needed to have some fluids. I said that I was OK with it, as long as I didn’t have to stay hooked up to it the entire time. After about an hour, the nurse checked me again and I was 4cm! I was so relieved. I had been so worried that they would send us back home in the blizzard.
After they checked me, a new nurse had started her shift. She had read my birth plan (which was a relief since I was concerned that they wouldn’t even look at it!) and said that if I wanted to use the tub I’d better do it now before my water broke. I still wasn’t having very strong contractions and I’d wanted to save the tub for when I was really in pain, but I decided to go ahead and get in anyway. I’m so glad I did because a few contractions into it I really had to start working at staying relaxed through my contractions. The tub didn’t take away the pain, but it sure did feel a lot more comfortable than the bed. I hung my arms on the side of the tub, laid my head on a towel and just let my body float in the water. My husband sat there with me and talked to me between contractions. During the contractions, I was moaning and really concentrating on my breathing. I learned in my Bradley book that when you breathe in, you should push your stomach out. It’s impossible to tense up while you are doing that. I really think it’s the one technique that helped me get through this stage. It was so strange, but between contractions I felt totally fine and normal. I would pick my head up and start up the conversation with my husband again. It felt like a switch being turned on and off.
Time to push!
I think I was in the tub for only an hour when my water broke. I could feel it pop and then gush out. I didn’t notice any color or anything. I went ahead and got out because I had a feeling things were getting serious now. They checked me once I was dried off and back in bed -- I was 7-8 cm. I took a deep sigh and thought to myself “I’m in transition, I can do this.” I was very worried throughout the entire pregnancy that it would be too much for me to handle and I would end up begging for drugs. My midwife was very helpful in trying to find a position that was comfortable for me to labor in now that things were getting intense. The combination of the pressure and the contractions was getting more and more difficult to relax through. I knew that putting counter pressure or sitting upright was helpful in relieving some of the pressure, so I asked for the birthing ball. But before I could even get out of bed to sit on it, my body started pushing. It was the weirdest feeling ever. It’s just an involuntary thing like when you are sick and you throw up or when you sneeze. My midwife decided to check me again -- it had only been five minutes or so since they last checked me. I was 10 cm! She said I could go ahead and push.
I really wish I had studied more on the pushing stage. I thought since I’d already pushed two babies out that I knew how to do it. It’s a whole different ball game when you can feel everything. In my birth plan I’d said that I didn’t want to be coached and instead that I wanted to just do what came naturally to me. I was so out of it, though, that I couldn’t concentrate on what was going on with my body. I finally had to tell my midwife that she needed to help me. I honestly couldn’t tell when a contraction had stopped -- I needed her to tell me to stop pushing and when to start again. It didn’t take many pushes until the baby’s head crowned. I was expending a lot of energy grunting and screaming, and I knew I shouldn’t do that, but I couldn’t stop myself. Finally, the head came out. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the baby had come out with her hand next to her face and my midwife had to push her hand back in so the shoulders could come out correctly. It seemed like I pushed forever to get the rest of her body out. Everyone was yelling at me to push. I learned later that her face was very blue and the nurses were pushing on my stomach to help get her out. I have no idea how I don’t remember them pushing on me. The rest of her came out and they put her on my stomach for a second or two and then they cut the cord right away because she was so blue. They dried her off and weighed her 9lb 7oz! I was totally shocked that I’d had such a large baby. My other two were barely over 7lbs. They said she had some bruising on her face from coming out so fast. (I only pushed for 15 min.) and that they needed to take her to the nursery because she wasn’t breathing well on her own.
After the birth
I had to stay in my delivery room for an hour and a half after I delivered the placenta and then they took my up to my postpartum room. I went to the nursery right away to be with Emma. They had suctioned a lot of fluids out of her stomach and said there was fluid in her lungs. They explained that when they are born so fast they don’t have enough time in the birth canal to squeeze all the fluids out. My entire labor (hard labor anyway) was only two hours so things happened very fast.
The nurses kept saying they only had to watch her for another hour so my husband and I kept thinking that we’d be getting her anytime. Hour after hour stretched to 12 hours when they admitted her to the NICU. She had fluid in her lungs and they needed to keep her until they determined if she had an infection or not. She was also still not breathing well on her own, so she was kept on oxygen for two days. I did get to start nursing her the night she was born though.
We got to take our precious new baby home three days after she was born and haven’t had any problems at all. She’s perfectly healthy and, despite all the problems she had after she was born, I am so thankful I got the birth I had wanted.